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The animal fibres covered in this bulletin are of considerable importance to the world's textile industry. As a natural renewable resource they have been a vital factor in the development of mankind. Thier products have provided protection from the elements and processing of them was one man's first rudimentary industries.

Today, millions of people still depend on them for their livelihood.

Being products of nature, each of the animal fibre types covered in this bulletin has unique properties, including variability in fibre diameter, colour and length. They are also exposed to the climatic variations of the seasons which result in dirt, seeds and other extraneous matter finding its way into fleeces.

To realise their potential value as textile fibres it is essential that basic rules be followed when harvesting and preparing animal fibres for sale to the world's textile industry. Preparation must focus on meeting customer requirements and expectations to ensure that the confidence of the textile industry is maintained or enhanced.

The world textile industry is highly competitive and animal fibres, although important, fill a relatively small proportion of the total fibre requirement.

Cotton and synthetic fibres dominate textile production, and the synthetic fibre makers continually attempt to duplicate the unique properties that animal fibres possess. Their aim is to penetrate the luxury segment of the consumer market where the majority of products made from animal fibres command premium prices because of their natural properties and perceived value.

This bulletin provides general background information on the main textile producing animals and detailed guidance on the harvesting techniques, including preparation for sale. By following these guidelines growers will maximise the monetary value of the fibre and its value to the textile industry.

A wide range of sources have provided information on the techniques and practices, skills and tasks that must be performed with different fibres to provide the quality assurance approach essential to successful marketing.

I hope all readers will find some beneficial information in the text and that the techniques recommended will lead to improved fibre presentation and increasing demand from manufacturers and consumers alike.

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